Unbranded and home on the range.

Gentlemen. I expect better.

You know, I dunno. I thought once a decent Muslim guy (living here in the West, educated, deeny, etc) gets past the age of 25, he should just know better. He’s been around enough at school and at work to be able to observe more refined conduct towards a wide range of society, if not pretty much all segments of the same. But there are always exceptions. Within the span of one week, fate brought three separate incidents to my notice, and all three involved Muslim guys showing either an appalling lack of chivalry or outright jerkiness.

Which brought to my mind a comment I wrote for Sr. Jannah’s blog not too long ago and I’d like to repeat it here, given the fact that one option I just don’t have is to drop a guy’s knees out from under him and introduce his face to cold hard asphalt, if he behaves like a jerk.

(Following this I think I’m going to also dredge up a post on chivalry I made on MM, because unfortunately many men don’t have that characteristic these days either.)

The original post was How Not to Be a Jerk in 10 Ways, and her original points are written in dark red bold, and my associated thoughts are immediately antecedent:

1. Stop liking ‘perfect girl’ and find someone real: What I always tell guys who are being picky is that there are so many fish in the ocean that they’ll always be able to find someone who is further along in each of the categories they are concerned with, than the previous girl. Beauty, brains, deen, personality, everything. Even if they find the perfect bombshell, I guarantee any man in writing, in stone, with my blood, that within one year, I can find you another woman completely outranking that bombshell in every single way possible. And give me another year and I’ll find another woman outranking THAT bombshell-killer. and so on. That third 10/10 woman is going to make your first bombshell look like a 6 outta 10. So just pick one and settle down! A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, duh. [My sincere apologies for the fish and bird slang / puns, they were not intended.] And on the same point, its the exact same thing I tell to any guy who’s moping over some girl who rejected his proposal – I tell him that he’ll easily find another girl outranking that one.

2. Stop being superficial: About being superficial and whatnot, what i tell guys is this: Pick a girl for her deen yes, but make that the last factor on your list. Last, but most important, as in: the make-or-break factor. I advise guys to figure out what their standard of beauty and personality is, and go find a girl that fits that standard. Find out other things, like her family, education, blah blah blah. The last item on your list should be her level of Deen. Where is she at? Is she willing to learn and improve her deen, etc? If not, then leave her and move on. As opposed to some guys who go after XYZ girl because they think hear she’s so deeny but after marriage they find out she just aint cuttin it in the personality or looks dept., and they end up having marital discord. Dude, come on, you’re going to be waking up next to her face EVERY MORNING for a long long time.

3. Figure out what you’re doing in life: Ditto. Few things are as bad as a man who has no real aim in life, no passion for something, no goal on the horizon. Even if you want to live a simple life, having a 9-to-5 job pushing paper and making $40k/yr for the rest of your life OKAY THAT’S FINE but make sure that’s what you want and stick to it, and make sure she knows that too before the wedding.

4. Don’t use a girl for her companionship: What I advise guys to do, and I do it myself, is if you are in situations where there will be substantial, ongoing interaction with Muslim women, whether at work, MSA, school, community, whatever, and you don’t want to give false hopes or wrong impressions to those women, then do the following:

a) For God’s sakes, PUT A RING ON YOUR RIGHT-SIDE HAND. Go out and buy a guy’s ring. The cheap spinner rings available at ISNA or RIS that cost only 10 or 15 bucks work JUST FINE. No, it doesnt mean you’re engaged, in case anyone asks. Just smile politely and say you’re not available, and that you’re really not looking either because you’re sick and tired of all the aunties and uncles saying YA IBNY! OH BETA! I HAVE THE PERFECT GIRL FOR YOU!! [aunty, give it a rest, please]

b) Don’t act dumb and clueless. Take notice if a particular girl is showing interest in you, and inevitably when the topic of discussion approaches marriage or rishtas or anything, DROP THE BIG FAT BOMB IN HER FACE: “Well, I’m really not looking to get married now. I’m happy being a free man, and I’ve told my parents not to bother looking around, either.” That way, at least she knows that you’re not interested and she can lower her expectations about you and look elsewhere. Dont be an idiot and play dumb and coy, letting her get all interested in you and thinking you’re a good prospect and that you might say yes if she gets a friend to ask you about her, only to have you say no and break her heart. You’re keeping your options open, but you’re setting decent expectations of those around you.

5. Don’t change yourself for a girl: Ditto. Don’t change yourself for a girl. And further to J’s point – please dont give stock answers like you’re quoting straight out of Tafseer ibn Kathir. Its cheesy, fake, and you might think you’re putting on an impressive front, but all you’re doing is putting up a facade that may lead to trouble [when she finds out you’re not really as Deeny as the front you were putting on]. First and foremeost remember Allah ta3ala when giving your answers and secondly just be yourself.

6. Be a man: Ditto. Guys, learn how to hem your own clothes, and to sew small rips or tears in your clothes. Its not hard at all. Learn to iron your OWN clothes, particularly right after you’ve pulled them outta the wash. And learn to leave a place cleaner than you found it. Cleanliness such a major part of our deen [50%, innit?] so if you see a dish or two in the sink as you’re walking by, WASH THEM. If you’re doing wudu, then WIPE UP the counter after you’re done, completely. Living room floor dirty? BUST OUT the vacuum cleaner, instead of waiting for her to do it. If you want to temper that proud and arrogant stallion-of-a-nafs inside of you, then go scrub the toilet. Its humiliating, and its worth it. Just make sure you dont scream in her face afterward about all these “favors” you do around the house, because dude … its your obligation to keep your own house clean in the first place.

7. Stop being ’shady’ (aka a hypocrite): Dude, on Judgement Day you’re not going to have a freaking second chance. You’ll be on your knees and bawlin’ your eyes out, but you just aint getting sent back for another shot at this life. Your second chance starts now. Be a man of ethics and integrity. Like they say. “If you have integrity, then nothing else matters. And if you don’t have integrity, then nothing else matters.” [Alan K. Simpson]

8. Don’t be cheap: Yes, but don’t be spendthrift either. Be generous with your family but dont go to the other extreme of biting off more than you can chew. In this day and age of easy plastic, a lot of people overspend and then you have to face the harsh reality of having to pare down your standard of living because you just can’t afford it anymore. Subprime mess anyone?

9. Don’t propose/look for a girl when your parents aren’t in agreement: Guys should communicate very clearly to other stakeholders in their lives about what their plans are. Be it your parents, family, friends, etc. If you want to find a girl yourself, tell your parents very clearly. If you want them to do the looking for you, don’t do it yourself. Or you could sit down and have a discussion with them about what they would like in a daughter-in-law, what you would like in a wife, and then both parties go off in their merry way to search for a prospect. So if you find one first, they should be reasonably assured that she is someone they’ll be happy with and vice-versa if they find someone for you first.

10. Be sensitive, censor your words: When she asks “Honey, do I look fat in this?” the proper answer should be “Damn. You’re so fat you make the Goodyear blimp look anorexic in comparison.”


Actually, a lot of guys dont like skinny girls who are a bag of bones. Others do. Some are unrepentant carnivores and prefer some meat on them timbers. Whatever your preference is, be discreet about it. If you don’t look like Fabio, dont expect her to look like Miss Pax-Islamica herself. If you want her to burn some of it off, then partner up so that you both motivate each other – you work out and tone your body for her benefit and vice versa.

—————————– EXTRA ————-

Here are a few things I would add to that list:

A.) Dress like a gentleman. Please. Wearing some Tommy or Rocawear might have been fine when you were a young babyfaced buck in highschool, but don’t be wearing that stuff past the age of 22 or so. If you’re going out, dress casual if you want sure, but make it classic, sharp and neat. Everyone has different styles and preferences, but my point is, make yourself look presentable. It comes to my mind the incident where Omar [ra] asked a man why he was walking along hunched over, and the man said it was because he wanted to be “humble”. Omar corrected him saying a Muslim should stand up straight and be presentable, and that humility was in words and conduct. The same principle that Omar applied to that man’s physical posture, applies to the libaas and clothing you wear.

And if you’re at home, take care about the casual-at-home clothing you’re wearing. Yeah sure a t-shirt and track pants are fine but if they have shorba stains or sweat puddles all over them, toss them in the laundry and pull out a clean pair. Just for your wife. In fact, do it out of principle even if no one is around. You should look nice and respectable even to the angels and to God, who blessed you with the commensurate amout of wealth so that you may dress clean and respectably.

B.) When you do anything, go all the way and do it as best you can. Like nabeyuna Muhammad [saws] said: “When you do anything, do it with ihsaan [excellence].” Who cares if you’re not at the office, subject to the details-oriented, regulatory restrictions of Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA?

C.) Lighten up. Seriously. The best of men are those who are best to their wives. Yeah she might get emo sometimes and say things she doesnt mean. Lighten up.

D.) As J. alluded to already, but coming from a guy to reinforce it – most of the stuff out there about relationships coming from non-Muslim men, for other non-Muslim men regarding non-Muslim women … most of it is all insensitive BS, written with such men in mind like those who just want another notch on their belt, another score to carve onto the wall, another wartime story of lust and conquest to share at the watering hole. Screw that advice. Its not worth the paper its written on and we’re way better than that.

allahumma aslih shabaab almuslimeen, ayyyymen.


Filed under: Exhaust, Gentlemen, Leadership, Women

8 Responses

  1. Ikram Hadi says:

    I read this on the Jannah blog. Some of the best advice any man can get. Thanks for the additions.

  2. Jannah says:

    It sounds much better coming from a guy. Maybe they will be more likely to listen? Jazaks. Ws.

  3. maverick007 says:

    Sadly, most guys still dont get it if you try to tell them the bland, polite way.

    Re-aligning a guy’s skewed moral / behavioral compass sometimes means you have to take them aside and give them a hard right-uppercut [verbally, of course] across their face.

  4. Ange says:

    you had me at “deeny”

    “Some are unrepentant carnivores and prefer some meat on them timbers.” — LOL

  5. […] Generosity, and Gentlemanly Grace. This is a follow-up post to one I wrote not too long ago, asking the members of my gender to behave in a manner more becoming of a Muslim […]

  6. sukkar&filfil says:

    i wonder if that is too much to change, or too little to meet our expectations. but strikes a true chord, still. nice 🙂

  7. Asma says:

    awesome advice. 🙂

  8. Z says:

    Barakallaahu feek. MashaAllah this is great and very ‘real’ advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: